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Oh, a lot of the central-forecast costs just reflect the prejudices of the UK government, and aren't particularly useful.

To take one extreme example: the implicit levelised cost of nuclear in the model, is less than the value of exports.

Which means that in any scenario, you can decrease the total cost to UK plc, by building surplus nukes.  Nukes for power export are programmed to represent net cash earners, effectively having negative whole system cost.

There are several reasons for this.  Insurance costs are included for renewables, but not for nuclear.  Nuclear central costs and plausible build rates are very optimistic. So levelised cost comes out at under 7p/kWh.  And the value of exports is set at 7.32p/kWh. (cells F99-O99, sheet VII.a)

by LondonAnalytics (Andrew Smith) on Sat Oct 13th, 2012 at 11:27:08 AM EST
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given that the smallest nuclear power initiative it lets you build is 26 reactors, a significant drop in cost is reasonable enough. Selling the surplus for a profit.. eh.. in any future where that the brits build that much nuclear, you are going to have to string some very long cables before you hit a customer that has not done the same thing.
by Thomas on Sat Oct 13th, 2012 at 01:50:16 PM EST
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No, the smallest you can build is 3.9GW, by using the repeat-clicking thing I mention above (level 1.1 on DECC, level 2.1 on my version). This goes up in units of 3.9GW up to 39GW (13 x 3GW plants) at Level 2 on DECC (level 3 on mine).

As to economies of scale, well, that's a matter of faith. The French showed diseconomies of scale, and there are good reasons to believe that a large new British nuclear programme would experience the same. Still, as such a thing isn't going to happen, it doesn't really matter.

As to cables to non-nuclear or nuclear-minority neighbours, Britain already has interconnectors to Ireland and to the Netherlands. Survey work for the putative new one to Norway is happening now. By the time the proposed Belgium interconnector gets built, Belgium will be non-nuclear or minority-nuclear. And should Britain genuinely try to build, say, 10GW of new nukes, then by the time they were commissioned, France may well be a minority-nuclear country too.

by LondonAnalytics (Andrew Smith) on Sun Oct 14th, 2012 at 03:05:05 AM EST
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There are some obvious glitches.

Biomass power plants burn coal, apparently. Also, liquid biofuel from biomass is apparently code for coal-to-liquids.

Decreasing livestock numbers increases oil imports! Obvious, really; biomethane etc fuels not only all the tractors and trucks to transport feed etc involved in animal husbandry, but a significant portion of the general vehicle fleet : really?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 05:50:46 AM EST
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i can see biofuel as positive in the ag sector, to avoid transport costs of fossil fuels. that could apparently be achieved by dedicating 10% of farmland.

better would be electric tractors...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 06:16:56 AM EST
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"Biomass power plants burn coal, apparently."

Yeah, that's a silly thing. Solid-fuel plants are all much of a muchness in the model. So if you don't allocate enough biomass production / imports, then rather than scaling down the solid-fuel plant capacity factor, it just uses coal instead.  That's fixable. I'd add it to my TODO list.

by LondonAnalytics (Andrew Smith) on Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 08:47:14 AM EST
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Eh.. Going by real world precedents, the model is 100 % correct on this point. "Biomass" power plants that cannot find enough fuel have a remarkable tendency to suddenly become coal fired.
by Thomas on Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 01:16:51 PM EST
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I think you've misunderstood the nature of the model.

It's not an economic simulator. It's a scenario simulator.

So if the user specifies N amount of biofuel plant in their scenario, that's what they should get. That's just a matter of good UX design.

by LondonAnalytics (Andrew Smith) on Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 03:07:11 PM EST
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